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Research Software Engineers: State of the Nation Report 2017

20 Apr 2017, 23:13 UTC
Research Software Engineers: State of the Nation Report 2017
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This report provides a history of the U. K.’s Research Software Engineers campaign and a snapshot of the state of the U.K.’s Research Software Engineer (RSE) community. As I understand it, the term was coined at a U. K. Software Sustainability Institute (SSI) workshop, and now refers to an 800 strong community in the U.K. You can download the report from Zenodo. I urge all of you interested in career paths for academic software engineers to read it.

Briefly, modern research is next to impossible without quality software (one survey in the UK reported that 92% of researchers across all disciplines used research software). By extension, a a significant majority of research results are based on the skill of software engineering experts. Nevertheless, the work of software experts in academia remains poorly recognized, and they earn much less than their counterparts in industry. They are often hired as researchers, and are their careers are measured by the quality of research they are left unable to perform.
The report details these difficult straits, such as restrictions related to human resources, finances and funding policies, as well a culture in universities that tends to overlook the importance of software. Various solutions tried ...

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